February 28, 1962 (24th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Yes. Well, in better times they always do. I merely mentioned that there are other factors which are basic to the preservation of this great resource. When one considers what is used in the pulp and paper mills and in the lumber mills, and what is still used for firewood, it is rather frightening to realize that there is more spruce, jackpine and timber of different species burnt in this country in forest fires and destroyed by fungus and insects than the entire amount used by the pulp and paper industry. Surely, then, this is the angle that should get first priority.
I know it is difficult for the dominion government, our constitution being as it is, to interfere too much with the administration of the departments of lands and forests in the respective provinces, but I may say it should be just about as possible, constitutionally, to do so as it is to interfere with agriculture. I believe we have only touched the edge of what the dominion government could do and should be doing in this respect, and I am glad the trend is toward co-operation with the provinces in this field.
1 believe the government has in the first year, spent $5 million on assisting the different provinces. In addition, $1,250,000 is to be distributed in the different provinces toward the purchase of fire fighting equipment. I hope there could be a working arrangement with the Department of National Defence so that when these major fires take place prompt assistance could be forthcoming. No one who has ever experienced one of these great fires, such as that which happened last year in Newfoundland and those which occasionally happen in northern Ontario-the district to which the hon. member for Port Arthur has referred-can ever forget it. The destruction is simply tragic: To think that we, collectively, the dominion government and the provincial governments, should allow an annual destruction in these rich black forests of more acreage than is used in all the pulp and paper industries in Canada!
We hear people worrying about the amount of timber that has been consumed by the pulp and paper industries. I was glad to hear the hon. member for Port Arthur compliment the United States companies who

have subsidiaries here in Canada. I know most of these companies very well-Kimberly-Clark and many others he has mentioned. I have no brief for any particular company, but I cannot think the hon. member is entirely impartial when he criticizes the company in his own district-the Abitibi company-for not being as up to date in every respect, particularly in connection with research, as any of the companies to which he referred. I think that there are many fine companies in the country, and one of the finest is the great Abitibi company which, of course, gives employment to many people. It is fair in its treatment of labour, as the Great Lakes Company and other companies have been, and I think Kimberly-Clark and its subsidiaries have carried out a great deal of research and are to be complimented for it. However, from the nature of this great industry and of the constitutional responsibility shared by the different governments, provincial and dominion, it is difficult to see how the dominion government can fit in today and exert as much influence as the industry might warrant.
Nevertheless I do believe that a great deal more could and should be done in co-operation between the federal and the provincial departments. I compliment the minister on the steps which have been taken along this line and I hope they may continue. I trust that more money will be spent in this direction, if only on roads connecting the forests of the different provinces because, after all, there is no better way to lay the basis of a sound protection against fire, fungi and insects than to have access roads through these great timber areas.
People speak about the pulp and paper industries and the amount of timber they use. They accuse them of cutting down the trees and ravaging the forests, thinking about nothing but profits. May I remind the committee that the pulp and paper industry is, generally speaking, across Canada, only earning between 3 and 5 per cent on the money it has invested? As I say, I have no brief for the Abitibi company and I mention it because it is a company with which I have no connection; in fact it might be said I was competitive with it. The hon. member was worrying about the men who are working for that company and about the other pulp and paper workers and bushworkers in Canada. I would remind him that they are among the highest paid workers in the world. I notice the hon. member did not say anything about the 33,000 shareholders, 75 per cent of whom are small shareholders. In fact, over half the shareholders might well be widows, retired school teachers, retired professional people, or retired members of parliament, even, who might have a few dollars invested. I would

venture to say that the holdings are a great deal smaller on an average than the amount of investment it takes to employ one labouring man.

Subtopic:   WINNIPEG
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